Today we’re going to talk about the best comic writer of all time, bar none. Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse. In all honesty, I think that name speaks for itself. Have you ever heard a funnier one? I didn’t think so.
P.G. Wodehouse is best known for his Jeeves and Blandings Castle novels, and wrote and contributed to many other works including journalism, plays, musicals, and short stories. Wikipedia states (and I wouldn’t quote it if I could put it any better, but I can’t), “His writing style is notable for its unique blend of contemporary London clubroom slang with elegant, classically-informed drawing-room English.” Short version, it’s hysterical. Wodehouse has this perfect way of making even the most ridiculous vernacular sound normal and even the most formal language sound natural. Seriously, read it if you haven’t. You won’t regret it. I promise.
And for real, Pelham. Grenville. Wodehouse. Really, though.
So I know you guys are probably getting tired of reading my blogs entries (lol, as if.), but I’m totally blogging at you again, this time about one of my favorite poets, T.S. Eliot. In the interest of full disclosure and to be more exact, Eliot is actually my fourth favorite poet (after Coleridge, Byron, and Tennyson), but that’s still top five and he’s incredible.
Almost everyone has at least heard of The Waste Land, even if they haven’t read it, and that’s because in a lot of ways, it’s a poem that defined its generation in addition to being a poem which defined its artistic movement. As far as Modern poetry goes, it’s hard to compete with Eliot’s work. I don’t need to and won’t go into full on literary criticism mode, but The Waste Land’s illustration of the angst, disillusionment, and desolation remains a powerful and salient image 90 years after the fact.
That’s good writing. Something to aspire to.
So. Tolkien Week culminates today in a celebration of Hobbit Day, since September 22nd is Bilbo and Frodo Baggins’s shared birthday. Hobbit Day is unsurprisingly awesome, since Hobbits freakin’ rule. You’d think, considering my nerdiness (which can conservatively be described as intense), that I would have been actively engaging in Hobbitry since a young age, but I’ve really only recently begun to embrace my inner halfling.
And by ‘inner’ I kind of also mean outer. Like a hobbit, I enjoy food, music, leisure, peace and quiet, food, occasional adventures, food…you get the idea. I even have hairy feet. Though not hobbit-hairy. That’d be kind of weird.
Basically what I’m trying to say is that though Tolkien Week as a whole has been epic and though all of Tolkien’s works are worthy of celebration (Seriously, read The Unfinished Tales if you haven’t. They’re fascinating. Also if you feel like being totally incredibly nerdy (which, why wouldn’t you?) read The Silmarillion. Look, I know. But it’s awesome. The history of Middle Earth is what makes Tolkien and LotR so impressive.), The Hobbit and hobbits have a special place in our hearts.
Hobbits are easily the most relatable characters in LotR. In a universe where even the Men are pretty much superheroes, it’s nice to have some characters whom readers can see as normal. In a lot of ways, I think hobbits are what make Tolkien’s works the literary giants that they are. In the same way, the lack of hobbits is what makes so much other fantasy seem hackneyed and trite. Without the very human and even mundane element the hobbit characters provide, the might of Gandalf would seem run of the mill. The strength, resilience, and stature of Aragorn would be diminished. Every non-hobbit character would suddenly be less fantastic. That’s why hobbits rock. From a literary standpoint, anyway.
From a non-literary standpoint, hobbits rock because they eat 6 meals a day and pretty much just garden and hang out in between meal times. Who wouldn’t want that life?
I know I do.
Check out this year’s Tolkien Week Quiz after the jump!
Shiver me timbers, it be International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Ready your seamen, board your ship, and sail down to Kards Unlimited for all your Pirate partying needs. Not to mention saucy wenches and grog galore! Be advised there be dangerous marauders about, so bring along your cutlass and pistols and be prepared for a skirmish!
Whether your favorite pirate is Long John Silver, Captain Jack Sparrow, or Captain Hook, we want to hear your best pirate impression! Rumor has it Brendan will be talking like a slightly different kind of Pirate, so you’ll absolutely want to come down and see that as well.
Hope to see you there!
Roald Dahl is somehow one of the most loved and most obscure writers ever. This phenomenon probably has something to with the fact that, in addition to being an amazing author, he was a fighter pilot and intelligence officer during WWII.
Let me repeat that for you. A fighter pilot and intelligence officer during World Frickin’ War II. (And, point of interest, not only a fighter pilot but a flying ace. In case fighter pilot wasn’t cool enough for you.)
Point being, Mr Dahl obviously had a lot of experience being both dashingly heroic and a secret ninja. I can’t go into all the amazingly dope things Roald Dahl did in his life here, because you’d be reading for years, but suffice it to say that five minutes worth of research into this man’s life will cause you to wonder what you’ve been doing with your life a minimum of three times.
Interestingly, Dahl’s work is probably best known (in this country) through film adaptations. Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman are hysterical as Matilda’s deadbeat parents, Anjelica Huston frankly disturbs as The Grand High Witch, George Clooney is — there’s no other appropriate word — fantastic as Mr. Fox, and Gene Wilder is iconic as Willie Wonka. That’s not to mention Dahl’s dozens of other works, including his work for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and his many works that weren’t adapted to film. All these movies are great fun, but the books they’re based on are out of this world.
September is a month of many fantastic birthdays (including that of yours truly). One that has become more notable in recent days is that of best-selling author and world-class literary sadist (seriously, no one delights in my psychological anguish on behalf of his characters like this guy) George R. R. Martin.
Martin has, of course, been delighting audiences with A Song of Ice and Fire for years (the first book in the series, A Game of Thrones, was first published in 1996 and was #1 on the New York Times bestseller list in July of 2011), but the airing of HBO’s hit television series in April of last year caused a fairly meteoric rise in Martin’s popularity.
I love Martin for his challenging but accessible prose, his incredibly well-imagined fantasy world, and for the complex political systems that he presents. I really appreciate what his best-selling works have contributed to the legitimacy of fantasy, which is a genre that tends to be sneered at in some circles.
Here at Kards Unlimited, we sell both A Song of Ice and Fire, the Game of Thrones graphic novel, and A Feast of Ice and Fire, a companion cookbook to the series, which features recipes for many of the foods mentioned in Martin’s books. It’s like Mastering the Art of French Cooking, except Westeros is better than France in literally every conceivable way.
Why not celebrate this man’s awesome writing talent on his birthday, September 20th, by curling up with your favorite book from A Song of Ice and Fire and a home-cooked Westerosi meal? Now that I mention it, I think I will.